Max Verstappen has escaped punishment after being investigated for blocking Romain Grosjean during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Late in Q3, Verstappen was preparing to start his final flying attempt but was slow approaching the final corner as Grosjean approached on a timed lap. Having caught the Red Bull the Frenchman decided to abort, but after a stewards investigation Verstappen was not penalized for the incident.
Explaining the decision, the stewards stated the wet conditions, and therefore limited rear visibility, had played a factor in not handing out a penalty.
“Verstappen was on a fast lap but then caught [Pierre] Gasly early in the lap. He then aborted the lap. Grosjean who was on a fast lap, was catching Verstappen. He was six seconds behind at Turn 11 and four seconds behind at Turn 13. Verstappen was close to Gasly going into Turn 13. At this point Gasly set up for his flying lap and Verstappen in turn slowed to get a gap. Grosjean caught Verstappen between Turn 13 and Turn 14 which impeded Grosjean.
“While Verstappen was given reasonable, if slightly delayed information by his team, the Stewards took into account that with the very wet conditions, there was limited visibility ahead, and no visibility behind the drivers. The gaps between Gasly, Verstappen and Grosjean changed over a very short section of the track, and under the conditions the Stewards determined that the impeding was not, as the rule states, “unnecessary impeding” and therefore take no further action.”
The decision means Verstappen will start from seventh place on the grid in tomorrow’s race at the Hungaroring, with the Dutchman saying Red Bull was simply lacking performance in wet conditions.
“The car was just not having a lot of grip, especially on the extreme wet tires,” Verstappen said. “We were really struggling but even on the intermediates it was not fantastic. I don’t know why as otherwise we’d have changed it. No grip, sliding around.
“The issue was the whole corner to be honest. Just sliding around, no grip, locking. Mid-corner, no grip, no traction. Like driving on eggs.”